Sunday, May 20, 2012

Microbes and the Modern World: Jessica Green

      Jessica Green introduces microbes in indoor environments by first listing out all the places that we get the microbes that help us, ranging from our mothers to the foods we eat to our primary habitat indoors. She talked about the four principles that have to exist in an indoor microbial garden such as enclosed buildings and the maintenance of homogeneous environments. Her main topic of discussion comes into play when she discusses buildings as microbial ecosystems. Green and a team of experimenters carried out a case study that revealed the microbial diversity in hospital settings. They had 3 treatments: mechanical ventilation, natural or window ventilation, and the outdoors. They found that with mechanical ventilation, pollen/allergen concentrations were kept low consistently but also had relatively lower bacterial diversity. Interestingly enough, the bacteria found with mechanical ventilation, after running PCR sequences, genetically resembled that of many known pathogens. And as expected, mechanical ventilation bacteria consisted of more human-associated bacteria. She also mentioned a case study performed more recently in the Lilis Business Complex to observe the microbes that might be present on the U of O campus. Results are still being processed. In concluding her lecture, she shows a video that poses the ultimate question: are we unique individuals due to the genes we possess or because of the microbes that live inside of us? 
     To see the lecture, I have posted a link below:

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